This book begins with an exploration of aurality as a critical and philosophical concept. Contemporary theories of aurality frequently focus on the social, cultural and political field of sound, in response to what has been perceived as a historical and philosophical dearth. Therefore, this chapter offers an overview of the absence and emergence of aurality in historical and contemporary philosophical discourse; including, ocularcentrism and sonophobia, the sensory divide, definitions of sound, myths of aural-ity, and the cleaving of aura and aura-lity. This chapter also considers some of the significant alternatives to visual dominance, theories that refute ocularcentrism and suggest forms of engagement in sound, such as modernist auditory subjectivities and listener-function, which are not necessarily historically or philosophically absent. Contemporary theories also capture the alterity of aurality, its transgressive capacities and political potential, and these critical qualities of aurality are exemplified by the theories and philosophies drawn on in this book.


  1. Altman, Rick (ed.). 1992. Sound Theory/Sound Practice. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  2. Anzieu, Didier. 1989. The Skin Ego. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Augoyard, Jean-François, and Henry Torgue. 2005. Sonic Experience. A Guide to Everyday Sounds. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Benjamin, Walter. 1999 [1936]. The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction. In Illuminations, trans. Harry Zorn. London: Pimlico Press.Google Scholar
  5. Berger, John. 1972. Ways of Seeing. London: BBC & Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin.Google Scholar
  6. Bleeker, Maaike. 2011. Visuality in the Theatre: the Locus of Looking. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  7. Brown, Ross. 2011. Towards Theatre Noise. In Theatre Noise: The Sound of Performance, ed. Lynne Kendrick and David Roesner. Newcastle: CSP.Google Scholar
  8. Connor, Steven. 1997. The Modern Auditory I. In Rewriting the Self: Histories from the Renaissance to the Present, ed. Roy Porter. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  9. Corradi Fiumara, Gemma. 1990. The Other Side of Language: A Philosophy of Listening, trans. Charles Lambert. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  10. Crary, Jonathan. 1992. Techniques of the Observer: On Vision and Modernity in the Nineteenth Century. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  11. Crary, Jonathan. 2001. Suspensions of Perception: Attention, Spectacle, and Modern Culture. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  12. Curtin, Adrian. 2014. Avant-Garde Theatre Sound: Staging Sonic Modernity. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Docherty, Thomas. 1996. After Theory. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Dyson, Frances. 2008. Silent Theory: Aurality, Technology, Philosophy. In Critical Digital Studies: A Reader, ed. Arthur Kroker and Marilouise Kroker. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.Google Scholar
  15. Dyson, Frances. 2009. Sounding New Media: Immersion and Embodiment in the Arts and Culture. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  16. Erlmann, Veit. 2010. Reason and Resonance: A History of Modern Aurality. New York: Zone Books.Google Scholar
  17. Ihde, Don. 2007. Listening and Voice: Phenomenologies of Sound. Albany: SUNY.Google Scholar
  18. Ingold, Tim. 2000. The Perception of the Environment: Essays on Livelihood, Dwelling and Skill. Routledge: Abingdon, Oxon and New York.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Ingold, T. 2007. Against Soundscape. In Autumn Leaves, Sound and the Environment in Artistic Practice, ed. A. Carlisle. Paris: Double Entendre.Google Scholar
  20. Jay, Martin. 1994. Downcast Eyes: The Denigration of Vision in Twentieth-Century French Thought. University of California Press: Berkeley and Los Angeles, CA.Google Scholar
  21. Johnson, Dominic. 2012. Theatre and the Visual. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Johnson, Bruce. 2008. “Quick and Dirty”: Sonic Mediations and Affect. In Sonic Mediations: Body, Sound, Technology, ed. Carolyn Birdsall and Anthony Enns. Newcastle: CSP.Google Scholar
  23. Kahn, Douglas. 1999. Noise Water Meat: A History of Sound in the Arts. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  24. Moran, Dermot. 2000. Introduction to Phenomenology. London and New York: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Mulvey, Laura. 1999 [1975]. Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema. In Film Theory and Criticism: Introductory Readingsm, ed. Leo Braudy and Marshall Cohen. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  26. Nancy, Jean-Luc. 2007. Listening, trans. Charlotte Mandell. New York: Fordham University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Ovadija, Mladen. 2013. Dramaturgy of Sound in the Avant-garde and Postdramatic Theatre. Montreal & Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press.Google Scholar
  28. Schafer, R.Murray. 1994. The Soundscape: Our Sonic Environment and the Tuning of the World. Rochester, VT: Destiny Books.Google Scholar
  29. Schafer, R. Murray. 2004. The Music of the Environment. In Audio Culture: Readings in Modern Music, eds. Christoph Cox and Daniel Warner. New York: Continuum.Google Scholar
  30. Sterne, Jonathan. 2003. The Audible Past: Cultural Origins of Sound Reproduction. Durham: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
  31. Sui, Daniel Z. 2000. Visuality, Aurality and Shifting Metaphors of Geographical Thought in the Late Twentieth Century. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 90 (2): 322–343.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Szendy, Peter. 2008. Listen: A History of our Ears, trans. Charlotte Mandell. New York: Fordham University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Royal Central School of Speech and DramaLondonUK

Personalised recommendations